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The Counterintuitive CEO

The Decline of Serial Media

George Colony
January 29, 2008

In the future, no major media will be serial. When I say "serial" I refer to media that starts at A and runs to B, with limited control from the user. It’s content that forces a listener/reader/watcher to sit and, for the most part, passively follow. Examples of serial media include: podcasts, satellite radio, terrestrial radio, movies, broadcast television, paper newspapers (sort of).

Why will serial media fade? Because consumers are changing from listeners to adept conversers. The Web has acclimated them to ultimate control (I’ll go when and where I want to) and to participation. Ever wonder why TV watchers flip so much? Because they are looking for what they want, not what CBS wants to show them. Their attention span is short, and their appetite for choice is too high to bear passivity.

This trend will put increasing pressure on the serialists like XM/Sirius, NBC, Fox, Clear Channel, The New York Times, and Time Warner to accelerate their transformation. 


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